I showed up at the Sunnyside Greenmarket with copies of Preserving Everything: Can, Culture, Pickle, Freeze, Ferment, Dehydrate, Salt, Smoke…and More to sign. I also brought some Pickled Carrots with Ginger and Coriander to give away as colorful, flavorful bait (recipe coming right up in this post).
Everyone loved them, and I sold out of all the books I’d brought (yay!). But several times people asked whether the recipe for the carrot pickle was in the book.
Yes. And no, not exactly.
The whole concept of Preserving Everything is that it focuses on each different method of food preservation and what makes it preserve food safely. Yes, there are recipes in the book, but they are meant to be examples as much as something tasty to make.
Once you understand which safety factor is involved in the recipe (Is it the acidity of the vinegar? The heat inside the pressure canner?), you can make up your own recipes.
I know, I know: I’m not supposed to say that. But let’s cut the bullshit: Yes, there are real, crucial food safety rules when it comes to food preservation…and they are totally learnable. And once you learn them, you can make up your own safe and delicious food preservation recipes.
For this recipe, I started with the Dilly Beans recipe that’s in the book. I knew (as will any reader of that chapter) that the pH of the vinegar brine was the main food safety factor, so I left that unchanged.
But I swapped multi-colored carrots for the green beans, and used coriander and ginger instead of dill. The result is an unusual and delicious pickle recipe that I made up after I wrote Preserving Everything, while following the safe vinegar pickling rules in the book exactly.
Pickled Carrots with Ginger and Coriander
Makes 1 pint, recipe can be multiplied
1 pound carrots (use multi-colored carrots if you can find them)
1–2 cloves garlic, smashed
1-inch piece of fresh ginger, cut into four chunks
4–6 whole black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon whole mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
2–3 fresh sprigs cilantro (coriander) leaves
1 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon kosher or other non-iodized salt
1. Peel the carrots, slice off the stem ends, and trim them so that they will fit into a pint-sized canning jar lengthwise with an inch of head space above them. Cut them lengthwise into quarters.
2. Put the garlic, ginger, pepper, mustard and coriander seeds into a clean, pint-sized canning jar. Tip the jar onto its side. Load in the carrot spears. When the jar is full enough for the carrots to stay vertical, set it upright.
3. Tuck in the cilantro (coriander leaf) sprigs. A chopstick is useful for pushing the herbs down in between the carrots.
4. Add more carrots until they are so tightly packed that you can’t shove in a single carrot slice more without it breaking. The carrots will shrink slightly during canning, and you want them to be so tightly packed that even with that shrinkage they hold one another down under the vinegar brine.
5. Put the vinegar, water, salt, and honey into a small pot and bring them to a boil over high heat, stirring to dissolve the salt and honey.
6. Pour the hot vinegar brine over the carrots and other ingredients in the jar. Be sure that the food is completely immersed in the brine, but there is still 1/2 inch of head space.
7. Wipe the rim of the jar clean. Screw on the canning lid. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 months, or for longer storage at room temperature, process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes (adjust the canning time if you live at a high altitude). Either way, wait at four days for the flavors to develop before tasting.
“This is an essential book for anyone interested in food preservation.” – Ellen Zachos
“A book that wild food gatherers of all skill levels will want to own.” - Sam Thayer